Monday, February 28, 2011

KING LEAR Act IV, i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi , vii Questions

King Lear and Cordelia
by Ford Madox Brown

Written answers to these questions are due Wednesday.
IV, i
1. How does Edgar's philosophy change when he sees his blinded father?
2. Explain Gloucester's words, "As flies to wanton boys are we to gods./They kill us for their sport."
Compare this to view to other descriptions of supernatural powers at play. (Remember Gloucester's concern about the bad omens in I, i?)
3. How do Edmund and Albany compare according to Goneril?
4. Explain how and why Edgar behaves as he does to Gloucester?
IV, ii
1. According to Oswald, how has Albany changed?
2. What has happened between Goneril and Edmund on the journey? Compare this view to other descriptions of supernatural powers at play. (Remember Gloucester's concern about the bad omens in I, i?)
3. Why is Edmund returning to Cornwall?
4. What accusation does Albany make against Goneril? How does she respond?
5. How do Edmund and Albany compare according to Goneril?
6. How does Goneril respond to the death of Cornwall? Why do you think she responds in this way?
IV, iii
1. Why is the King of France not leading his army? Where is Cordelia? Who is leading the Frenchmen?
2. How does the Gentleman describe Cordelia? What sort of universe does Kent see operating in this?
3. Why won't King Lear see Cordelia? Where is he? Where is she?
IV, iv
1. What order does Cordelia give? What does she fear?
2. According to Cordelia, what is France's purpose for being in England? Why do you think she makes this point?
IV, v
1. What do we learn from the conversation between Regan and Oswald concerning Edmund? Gloucester? Regan herself?
IV, vi
1. Why has Edgar changed his disguise? Why is he facilitating his father''s "suicide?"
2. How does Edgar trick his father, Gloucester? Why does he go through such an elaborate hoax?
3. How does Shakespeare change Edgar's diction?
4. What does Gloucester hear in the voice at the cliff?
5. How does Edgar describe the beggar who led him to Dover (Edgar himself) to Gloucester? Why is this convincing to Gloucester?
6. What happens when King Lear and Gloucester meet?
7. Why are King Lear's railing satirical speeches appropriate to the play?
8. How well does King Lear recognize Gloucester, and what advice does he give him?
9. How does Gloucester respond respond to Oswald's "arrest" of him?
10. Why does Edgar kill Oswald? What does he serve to gain?
11. Why is Goneril's letter of importance?
IV, vii
1. How and why does Kent respond to Cordelia the way he does when she asks him to change into clothes fittinng his station??
2. How are King Lear and Coordelia reunited and what happens?
3. How has King Lear's way of referring to himself changed and what does this suggest King Lear has learned?
4. Discuss the miliitary situation that exists between the French and the English armies?


Sunday, February 27, 2011

KING LEAR Act III, iv, v, vi, vii Questions

Write coherent answers to these questions and hand them in this Tuesday.
You are invited to discuss these questions here, if you want to. Remember you are supposed to be actively involved in discussion on this site.  
III, iv
1. How does King Lear's reference to the "poor naked wretches" out in the storm reveal he has changed?
2. Who now appears and what does the Fool think he is?
3. How has Edgar/Poor Tom transformed himself and who does he pretend to be?
4. Why does King Lear wish to discourse with Poor Tom, and why is he perceived by the king as so  exemplary?
5. Describe King Lear's awareness of reality at this point in the play.
6. Why has Gloucester come? What does Poor Tom learn from him he didn't know before?
III, v
1. Why does Edmund give Cornwall the letter that was entrusted to him by his father Gloucester?
2. What are the consequences of Edmund's doing this, both for himself and for his father?
III, vi
1. Now that they are inside, what does King Lear in his madness attempt to do?
2. Why do we feel such intense sympathy for Edgar during this scene?
3. How does Gloucester's presence  here advance the narrative and heighten the dramatic tension?
4. How is the cause of justice dramatized in this scene?
5. Why does Edgar have the stage for himself at the end of this scene? What effect is produced by having Edgar speak in rhymed couplets? How does his language sound after everything else we've heard in this scene? 
III, vii
1. Why is Gloucester going to be punished, and how do Regan's and Cornwall's proposed forms of punishment differ?
2. How does Gloucester's "trial" compare to the trial in the previous scene?
3. How do Gloucester's loyal servants intervene in this scene. How might it affect the rivalry between King Lear's ungrateful daughters?
Overview of Act III
1. What literary techniques does Shakespeare use in Act III to propel the narrative forward and to heighten dramatic tension?
2. Why does Shakespeare alternate between King Lear and the happenings at Gloucster's castle throughout this act?

Act IV questions tomorrow.

THE NEAR FUTURE: We will finish King Lear this week, you will be given two tests, and we then start The Odyssey.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

PATHETIC FALLACY/objective coorelative

Act III, ii, and iv
Thank Victor, Brandon, and Yenifer for our lightening,
and thank Raymond for his deeply felt King Lear
and thank everyone else who helped to stage these important
scenes in class. You were terrific. NOW FINISH READING THE PLAY!
 pathetic fallacy is the attributing of human behaviors and actions to inanimate objects. What examples of pathetic fallacy can you find in the play. (What examples from other literature, in movies, or in music can you think of?)  Consider its usefulness as a dramatic concept. Connect the storm in Act III, ii  to the idea of pathetic fallacy.  Of what use might be it in this play.
objective correlative is discussed in an earlier blog posting. It was also discussed twice in class.
pathos and bathos  discussed last semester. 
Act III, iv

Monday, February 14, 2011

Write an Essay on ACT II, iv Due 2/15/11 (tomorrow)

Please read Act II,, iv ALOUD to yourself carefully, with appropriate voice, volume, and emotion. It is not easy, so please consult the notes which accompany your text.  If you do this, you will be better prepared to write your essay and both to feel and to understand King Lear's rage, madness and transformation during the storm scene (Act III, ii).
It would be wise to blog about these questions with your classmates before writing your answers. 
1. Why is Gloucester on stage throughout much of this scene? 
2. Where are Gloucester's sympathies? How do we know?
3. Why are they all at Gloucester's castle to begin with?
4. How is this scene structured?  (Think of the stagecraft we discussed in class, i.e. the flow of characters entering and exiting and reentering, etc.)
5. Where are King Lear's knights, while this scene is being played out? How does this affect King Lear?
6. How do King Lear's feelings change throughout this scene?
7. How has the natural order of things further deteriorated?
8. How does the Fool function in this scene? How has his foolery changed? When does he speak,when is he on stage?
9. What is an end game? Do you sense an end game is taking place?
10. How has King Lear's dignity been affected by what happens in this scene?
11. Where in this scene do you sense King Lear verges on madness? Why? Use citations (quotes).
12. What do you think of King Lear's decision at the end of this scene. What are its probable consequences?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spring Semester : A Letter to My Class

Welcome back from your senior trip. I hope you had a good time.
Now it's time to get back to work.
 Mr. Balgley                   
A.P. English Literature & Composition Spring Semester Grading Policy:               

        15% Blogging Comments        
        10% A.P. Test Preparation Work
        25% Involvement in Class Discussion and Activities
        25% Written Assignments Including Class Note Taking
        25% Essay and Short Answer Tests and Quizzes 
I encourage you to delve deeply into what you are learning this semester; however, I will not be giving out any more extra credit assignments.  This semester a portion of your class work and your homework will be devoted to test preparation, so you will have more than enough to do.  (If you wish to enrich your understanding, by doing supplementary work, such as reading or research, please do so. When pertinent, please feel free to share what you have learned on your own with your classmates.)

There is a white elephant in our classroom. (This isn’t a reference to the George Orwell essay we read in October.) Our class is bifurcated. Some of you do not intend to take the May 11, 2011 A.P. English Literature and Composition Examination, while others of you are serious in your intent to prepare for, to take, and to do well on this exam. I want you to know that all students, regardless of their intentions, are required to work dutifully on all A.P. Test assignments, and to respect their classmates' desire to prepare for this test. It is part of our coursework.

These are my expectations of you this semester:
1. I expect you to attend class on time every day and to be seated at your desk and attentive at the outset of the third period.
2. I expect you to be prepared for class, having done whatever work was required the previous night.
3. I expect you to read carefully and to think critically about what you have read.
4. I expect you to come to class ready to participate in discussion.
5. I expect you to take chances and not to be afraid of making mistakes or of misunderstanding something.
6. I expect you to be open minded.
7. I expect you to remember what you were taught and what you have learned.
8. I expect you to develop into a self-motivated learner.
9. I expect you to listen carefully to your classmates and to learn from them.
10. I expect you to open your notebook and textbook without being prompted to do so.
11. I expect you to complete your writing assignments thoughtfully and to submit them on time.
12. I expect you both to read and to place comments in the class blog on a timely basis each night, and to check and recheck comments on postings to see if others have asked you questions, corrected you, disagreed with you, expressed different interpretations, asked interesting questions, or requested help.
13. I expect you to be courteous and respectful. Those who talk to others about matters unrelated to class work, or who show other forms of inattentiveness or disrespect, that divert classmates from learning, are being rude. Rudeness is a disorder that lowers academic standards. It is not permissible in our class.
14. I expect you to understand clearly the benefits derived from what is being taught in class.
15. I expect you to study and to be prepared to take tests.
16. I expect you to use your corrected tests as learning instruments.
17. I expect you to complete your class work in class.
18. I expect you to pay careful attention to how you structure and write your essays.
19. I expect you to use citations from texts to support your thoughts.
20. I expect you be aware of and comment on the literary devices a writer uses.
21. I expect you to revise your essays.
22. I expect you to take daily class notes from student discourse, from what is said by me, and from what is written on the board. The salient points of class discussion, whether made by me or by classmates, are to appear in your class notes. Your notes, derived from class discussion, are to reflect what you learned and what was taught to you in class. 
23. I expect you to know where we, as a class, are in the text we are discussing or reading at any given moment.
24. I expect you to annotate texts we read, just as you did with Antigone.
25. I expect you bring your textbook to class every day.
26. I expect you to do all A.P. Exam preparation assignments given to you.
27. I expect you to be aware of the dangers of senioritus, to know if you are suffering from it, and if so, to get a rapid cure.
28. I expect you to complete all assigned work when it is due, well before the end of each marking period. (I will not make grade changes this semester for late work.)
29. I expect you to remain committed to excellence, after the A.P. Exam is given.
30. I expect the best from you, and I to see you at June graduation, confident and well prepared for college.  

We have much to do in a very shot time before the end of this semester:

I.          Once we finish King Lear, we will start our war unit by reading a diverse selection of war poetry,  followed by a three short stories, and two war novels,  A Farewell to Arms by Ernst Hemingway and The Things they Carried by Tim O’Brien.
II.        We enter our epic unit with a selection from The Iliad and we then read The Odyssey by Homer.

III.       Our next unit is the short story.  We will read The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad, The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence, Paul’s Case by Willa Cather, and other stories as time allows.

IV.       In our final unit we will selectively review what we read earlier in the year. This is intended to assist both those who will be taking the A.P. Exam and those who will be taking college freshman English in September.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Scene Structure in KING LEAR and Preparing for the Storm Scene

As you read King Lear, notice the structure of the scenes, how they start, swell and end.  Just as Shakespeare's sonnets contoured by quatrains written in alternating rhyme, resound at their end in rhymed couplets, so do the entrances and exits of characters on the stage, and their external and internal soliloquies, provide special dimensions, of depth, tension, and irony, to the dialogue and to the dramatic action of individual scenes. Notice how masterful Shakespeare is both in giving dimension to his characters and in moving his narrative forward.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Place your Fool's quotation from King Lear as a comment on this posting.  Type it out, provide its scene and line numbers, give your reasons for selecting it, and write an interpretation of both what the quote means and how it relates to the play.

Monday, February 7, 2011

the Objective Correlative

This is the literary term I mentioned to you in class. When you read or experience the storm scene in King Lear you will sense how the storm itself is an extraordinarily powerful objective correlative.
So, get to the storm scene!

Objective Correlative: An outward set of objects, a situation, or a chain of events corresponding to an inward experience and evoking this experience in the reader. The term frequently appears in modern criticism in discussions of authors' intended effects on the emotional responses of readers.
This term was originally used by T. S. Eliot in his 1919 essay "Hamlet."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Essay about Disorder in KING LEAR Soon


Read this short quotation from Elyot's first chapter of Governor, written before King Lear.

Take away order from all things, what should remain? Certesnothing finally, except some man would imagine eftsoons chaos.  Also where there is any lack of order needs must be perpetual conflict.                    
*certes = certainly
Notice the word "nothing" is used.  Why?

Now read this speech delivered by Troilus to Ulysses (Odysseus) during the Trojan War, in Shakespeare’s play Troilus and Cressida.  It expresses volumes about the importance of order in the Elizabethan World.  You will be writing an essay in which you will relate this to what you have read so far in King Lear. (You may need to do more reading.) J

The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre,
Observe degree, priority, and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office, and custom, in all line of order:
And therefore is the glorious planet, Sol,
In noble eminence, enthron'd and spher'd
Amidst the other, whose med'cinable eye
Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
And posts, like the commandment of a king,
Sans* check, to good and bad. But, when the planets,
In evil mixture to disorder wander,
What plagues and what portents? what mutinies?
What raging of the sea? shaking of earth?
Commotion in the winds? frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate**
The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixture! O, when degree is shaken,
(Which is the ladder to all high designs)
The enterprise is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive*** and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
(But by degree) stand in authentic place?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And hark what discord follows! each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy. The bounded waters
Would lift their bosoms higher than the shores,
And make a sop of all this solid globe:
Strength would be lord of imbecility,
And the rude son would strike his father dead.
This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
Follows the choking . . .
*sans = without (it's French)
**deracinate = uproot
***primogenitve = primogeniture as an adjective

The Elizabethan World Picture

American Edition
British Edition

There is a short extraordinary book with this title, written by E.M.W. Tillard.  I highly recommend it to those of you who are interested either in the history of the times or the commonly held cultural beliefs expressed in Shakespeare's plays.  It is a challenging book for high school students, but a book nearly always used in college level Shakespeare courses.  I highly recommend it to you.  I believe we have a few copies of it it our school library.  Don't be daunted by the vast knowledge and scholarship of the author. Commit yourself to reading at least the first chapter and it will open your eyes to latent English Renaissance content in Shakespeare's play in a most miraculous manner!  In so doing, it will improve your understanding of what you are reading.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Man's Order & the Great Chain of Being

In Shakespeare's times, the movement of the heavenly bodies, their precise and their predictable courses, was taken quite seriously. Any irregularity in the heavens was usually interpreted as an omen of "unnatural" things to come. Hence, eclipses, comets, and other celestial aberrations, fascinated but unnerved the people.
The seasons of the year were attributed
special qualities, in continuous circular
repetitive movement. Here, however, they are
represented in a rectangle.
Choler (pronounced just like collar) distinctly means anger, just as sanguine clearly means cheerful, agreeable, and pleasant in Shakespeare's writing.  Some people actually still believe the four humors - you may recall young Victor Frankenstein did so initially. "Sensible" people such as Edmund, in King Lear, dismissed a different popular belief, astrology, a remnant of medieval times, as utter nonsense. Many in Shakespeare's audience would have disagreed with Edmund.
This is a contemporary, somewhat distorted, diagram of the four humors.